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Josh Hoxie – Affluenza: An Outrage in All Its Forms

Which is worse, letting a rich kid off easy for a heinous crime or allowing an ultra wealthy adult to drain public coffers through bribery? These two scenarios may seem completely unrelated, but they both illustrate the corrupting influence of modern inequality—treating those at the top differently than the rest of the country.

Consider the case of Ethan Couch. Ethan first made headlines in 2013 when at age 16 he drove his car drunk into a crowd of people in Texas, killing four people and injuring many others. While drunk driving is unfortunately not uncommon in the United States, what made Ethan unique was the defense he used in court to get a dramatically reduced sentence. Ethan, through his lawyers, claimed he suffered from “affluenza”—he didn’t know right from wrong because he grew up rich and thus couldn’t be held responsible for his actions. To the astonishment of just about everyone, that worked.

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